With a frightfully grim and macabre history painted by the torturous murders that took place with in its walls, it is little wonder this building has seen so many owners come and go.
The LaLaurie House... Horrors and Haunts
Still, this house is reportedly the most haunted building in this part of New Orleans, with the sounds of children playing in the courtyard, disembodied voices, screams of pain coming from the attic, and most strangely, the sounds of chains been dragged down the upper stairway.
Also, we can not leave out the apparitions that have been seen throughout the house, dark shadows and most famously of all, the image of Delphine LaLaurie, the owner from which the house gets its name... and the legends.
Marie Delphine LaLaurie
She married three times, each to a person of prominence, including a Consul General, a prominent banker/merchant/lawyer, before finally marrying and settling with physician Leonard LaLaurie in 1825.
They soon purchased a property at 1140 Royal Street, and in short time had built a three story mansion, complete with slave quarters and a detached kitchen. Together the LaLauries became prominent citizens, and the centre of many social circles within New Orleans. As befitting their status, they owned several slaves.
It was noticed that the LaLauries slaves were seen to be the worst looking slaves in the community. They always looked half starved, and at that time, New Orleans had laws stating slaves must be well looked after and kept in good health.
Publicly, Delphine (who was the prominent member of her household) was always good to her slaves, and even emancipated (freed) two of them over time.
Delphine was obviously able to put on a good story for explaining her slaves conditions, and even when investigated by a lawyer, no mistreatment of the slaves was found.
However, soon after the investigation, one of the LaLauries neighbours witnessed a young slave girl, aged about ten to twelve years old, being chased by Delphine with a whip. The girl climbed to the roof and subsequently fell three stories to her death.
All the little girl did to feel her 'owners' wrath was to accidentally tug Delphines hair while brushing it, a knot being caught in the brush.
Her body was quickly buried in the courtyard, but this time the LaLauries were unable to escape punishment. The case went to court and with the LaLauries found guilty of cruelty, they were sentenced to forfeit nine slaves.
A Most Macabre Scene
One of these slaves was sent to work in the kitchen, chained by the ankle to the stove and beaten if caught feeding any other slave. This was only part of her punishment; the rest of it was to come when she was taken to the 'uppermost room'.
She had great reason to fear this other punishment looming over her head, for she knew that anyone who was taken up there, never returned. On April 10, 1834 she set a fire in the kitchen in an attempt to draw attention and possibly suicide. The fire somehow spread to the main house (the kitchen was detached), and soon fire marshals arrived on scene to put out the blaze.
The people who saw and reported the fire entered the house in order to make sure everyone had been evacuated, but were refused access to the locked slave quarters. Ignoring Delphine’s orders to not enter that part of the building, they broke down the door and found themselves in a scene of pure horror.
Seven slaves were found horribly mutilated, the limbs having been hyper extended and the joints snapped. Some were suspended by the neck, but not dead, others were bound in horrific positions, and many had iron spikes around their necks, so they could not move their heads, but instead only stare straight forwards.
They stated they had been imprisoned and tortured for months. When asked about what was happening in their house, the reply was more or less 'stay out of other peoples business'.
Upstairs, in the uppermost room, was an even more graphic scene..
A later source, Ghost Stories of New Orleans, stated that the mutilation was even more horrific, so horrific that even newspapers at the time could not print all the details, such as intestines having been removed and tied around slaves torsos, and holes drilled in their heads so the brains could be accessed.
Some outlandish claims were made that some of the slaves had been completely mutilated so they barely resembled humans – limbs snapped and reset or completely amputated so the forms were more akin to crabs and caterpillars.
All slaves showed the signs of being repeatedly whipped, so heavily that the skin on their backs had been flayed.
Escape from the Mob!
After the house was ransacked by the mob a further investigation was carried out, and bodies were discovered buried in the courtyard and the covered well. Included amongst those bodies were two children.
Delphine LaLaurie frequently makes it onto the list of the worlds most evil women, and is regarded as a serial killer and extreme sadist.
The house has been purchased, turned into several schools over time, lived in and sold many times since it was repaired after the mob went through. One of these owners was actor Nicolas Cage. Not many people last long living in the LaLaurie House, and with the repeated reports of strange phenomena, it is little wonder why.